WSU Executive MBA Online Spring 2020 Info Session with Director of Admissions and Student Services

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Jake M.: Hello, everybody. Welcome to the Online Executive MBA Information Session for our Spring 2020 term. Super excited to have all of you on. We appreciate you coming on what’s likely your lunch break, here. But yeah, we’re excited to share some information about the program, help determine if this is going to be a good program for you guys, and also be able to answer any good questions that are popping up, here.

Jake M.: Want to start with a few of the logistics around this presentation. In order to minimize background noise, we have put the presentation into broadcast only mode. So, what this means is that you guys can hear me, and the other people on the line. However, we can’t hear you. So, if you have any good questions that you want to be asking, make sure to be using the Q&A section that’s going to be on the right side of your screen. You throw that question in there, and we’ll be able to bring that up towards the end of the presentation. And if we miss any, we will be sure to followup with you after the presentation is over. Also, the recording of the session will be emailed out to you after the webinar concludes. So, if you got to hop off early, if you get a call that comes in, we’ll get you over a recorded copy. But yeah, hopping into the agenda. We’re going to be starting off with some introductions, just introduce you to all the different people we have on the line to share information with. We’re also going to dive into the history, the rankings, and the accreditations of Washington State, and The Carson College of Business, where our Executive MBA is housed out of.

Jake M.: We’ll give you a nice program overview for the Executive MBA. Sort of day in, day out, what it looks like. And then we’ll dive into admissions requirements. So, what is needed to be completing an application, what we look for out of candidates in the Executive MBA. We also have a student speaker on the line. She’ll be giving a day-in-the-life sort of student perspective on the program, as well as some insight into our international field study, and some of our networking events. And then, again, we’ll be wrapping up the presentation with a live Q&A session.

Jake M.: So, we encourage you to ask those questions in the Q&A feature. Love to hear from the students. But yeah, starting off with some introductions. I’ll introduce myself. My name is Jacob Moscinski.I am an Enrollment Advisor here with both the MBA and the Executive MBA program. Really my job is to help you all learn about the program, answer any questions that you have, and ultimately guide you through the admissions process, make sure that we are putting together some strong documents and communicating your student profile to the admissions committee here.

Jake M.: Mitch, you want to go ahead and introduce yourself?

Mitch Swanger: Yeah, absolutely. Thanks, Jake. And hello, everyone. Thanks for joining us today for this webinar. I hope you find it useful and informative. My name it Mitch Swanger, and I’m the Director of Admissions and Student Services for the graduate and online programs here at The Carson College of Business. And in our portfolio, we handle admissions and student support for the Online MBA and the Executive MBA online. And I have been with WSU for nine years now. And my team, in a nutshell, basically oversees recruitment through graduation for all the students and all the day to day operations that that entails. So, again, thanks for being here today, and I will pass onto my colleague, Matt.

Matt Beer: All right. Hello, everybody, and greetings from Pullman, Washington. As Mitch said, I’m Matt Beer. I’m the Military and Veteran Affairs Manager here. Left the Air Force after 22 plus years service. And happy to be here serving our military affiliated students hopefully get the best return on investment in their EMBA program. They’re approximately 15%, maybe 10% to 15% of your cohort going through. So, you’ll see them, and hopefully that will be a good experience for those of you who decide to join the program. Thanks.

Jake M.: Awesome. Thanks, Matt. Thanks, Mitch. We also have a student on the line, Amy Keene. Amy, want to go ahead and introduce yourself, as well?

Amy Keene: Hi, my name is Amy Keene. I finished the Executive MBA program in January, February timeframe this year, and was able to walk in May. I work at The Boeing Company as a Supply Chain Manager. But actually, was transitioning from an Engineering Manager job into the Supply Chain role kind of towards the end of my program.

Jake M.: Awesome. Thank you very much, Amy. Now Mitch is going to dive into a little bit about the history of WSU, and sort of what our mission here is.

Mitch Swanger: Awesome. Thanks, Jake. And I will keep this somewhat brief. WSU was founded in 1890 in Pullman, Washington. And for those that are not familiar with our location in Washington state, we are on the eastern side of the state. So, we’re right on the Idaho border. In fact, we are six miles away from the University of Idaho. So, we have two D1 schools within six miles of each other in two different states, which is really pretty interesting. Most people know where Seattle is. So, from where we are to there is about four, four and a half hour drive, or so. But we are on the eastern side of the state. WSU is also Washington State’s land-grant institution. And what that means is that the university was founded on the mission of providing affordable education to anybody who is willing and able to pursue it. And when it first got started, it was mainly just and agricultural school, but has developed into what it is today.

Mitch Swanger: We do have over 125 years of alumni legacy, and currently have one of the biggest alumni associations. I actually thought we did have the biggest alumni association, but don’t quote me on that. It’s definitely one of the biggest. And it’s pretty crazy. No matter where you’re at in the world, if you are wearing a WSU clothing item of any sort, you will probably hear somebody yell, “Go Cougs” from anywhere. It’s crazy. I’ve never actually seen anything like it before.

Mitch Swanger: We do have 60 years of graduate business education experience. I believe our first MBA started in 1957. And then we have over 20 years of online degree programs. And when we first started online, it was back in the day where the lectures were filmed via VHS, and then mailed out. The students would watch those, and then send them back. And the lectures would be re-recorded on those same VHS tapes. So, there was a chance that you’d have the tail end of a former lecture on your new VHS. So, I’m glad we’ve come a long way from there.

Mitch Swanger: We started offering our Executive MBA online in Spring of 2011 with the goal to work around the busy working professional. And Jake will get into this a little bit more later on, but the goal here is to work around you as a working professional, and as somebody who may have a family. We know how busy your life is. And so, the goal of the MBA is to accommodate that. And then lastly, we have an international network of corporate and academic alliances, which allows our students more corporate and learning opportunities. I’ll speak a little bit about this later, as well, but if you go on the international study trip, you’ll be able to see some of those opportunities.

Jake M.: Awesome. Thank you, Mitch. Now we’re going to be moving more towards the accreditations and rankings. And I want to describe a little bit about why this is important to students as they search for MBAs or Executive MBAs. So, starting off at the top there, you’ll see the AACSB accreditation. Washington State University and The Carson College of Business, we’re among less than 2% of business schools worldwide that are accredited at the bachelors, masters, and doctoral levels from the AACSB. And this accrediting body is really what’s considered the gold standard of accreditation for business schools.

Jake M.: Employers are seeking it out. The accrediting body really ensures that the curriculum is going to be relevant to the modern day businessman, businesswoman. It’s also going to ensure that our faculty, our top tier, that we are having these very highly skilled professors teaching relevant curriculum. And also, we’re going to be creating research in the space. So, it’s our team is going to be conducting good business research that an intern feeds back into the curriculum. We do know employers, often times employers, specifically larger employers, are seeking out AACSB accredited programs. You’ll see different reimbursement packages are only geared toward AACSB MBAs. You’ll see filtering systems that will filter out candidates applying for jobs who don’t have an AACSB accredited MBA. So, that’s sort of your big one. That’s what you want to look for from a business program, is those five letters there. And then from a university as a whole, we are regionally accredited. So, that’s basically just a body that accredits the entire university. You always want to make sure your university is regionally accredited rather than nationally accredited. That’ll hold more weight, again, in the eyes of employers, as well as making sure that your program and your learning is going to be high quality there.

Jake M.: Now, aside from that, rankings are always important. I think that’s a pretty good way of students feeling out the weight behind the brand, or the program. You can see at the bottom there, starting on the left side, we’re ranked number 13 from U.S. News & World Report for Best Online MBA Programs. That was for 2019. So, that puts us in the top 5% nationally. So, across the entire United States. And then if you break it up into region, a lot of our students are coming from the Pacific Northwest. We’re actually the number one Online MBA in that area. So, a lot of weight in the area, and nationally. We also see CEO Magazine ranked us number 13, as well, for Online MBAs, or for Online Executive MBAs. And then we are a very military-friendly school. That’s something that Matt Beers will be talking about later down on the line. But you can see U.S. News & World Report ranked us there at number eight.

Jake M.: It is important to know we’re not a university that is chasing these rankings. We don’t specifically make our decisions around being number one. We try to really stick to that land-grant mission as our primary motivator. But it’s pretty cool to see these ranking bodies giving us some recognition there. It’s a useful thing for us, and for our students.
Jake M.: Moving on to military and veteran students. Matt, you want to hop on here? And if you are speaking, Matt, your mic might be muted. It looks like Matt might be having a bit of technical difficulties. His line might have gone down. So, I’ll be able to hop in here. If we get Matt back up on the line, we’ll have him dive a bit deeper. But Matt Beer, he is our Military and Veterans Affairs Manager. So, really, his mission is to support our veterans and our active duty military members in the MBA and Executive MBA.

Jake M.: Roughly 15% of our population is active duty military or veteran. So, we have a huge population to be supporting, and he does an excellent job within The Carson College of Business of doing that. So, a variety of different benefits. You have tuition and fees, you do get a reduced tuition rate as a military or a veteran. And we also have support for helping you use GI Bills, or tuition systems programs with our Office of Veterans Affairs. And then, aside from that, we have some networking that we specifically cater towards these active duty veterans. You’ll see different foot groups, different speakers and workshops. We have both in-person and virtual options for a lot of these. And a lot of them are catered towards somebody who’s transitioning out of the military. And then those pictures there at the bottom, that’s a pretty cool thing that we’ve been doing. That’s Operation [inaudible 00:12:48] Crimson. So, we have the WSU flag with our very recognizable logo there. We send around this flag to our various military members stationed across the world, and it’s a pretty cool way to develop that community and show Cougar support across the world.

Jake M.: But now I do want to hop on and talk a little bit about the pillars that we have designed this program around for the Executive MBA. So, you’ll see equality, convenience, relevance, and support. Starting off with quality, we want to ensure that this Executive MBA’s going to be of the highest quality to our students. So, we’re a tier 1 fully accredited MBA program, like I had mentioned earlier, with that regional and AACBS accreditation.

Jake M.: We also have world-class faculty and curriculum. So, some really good learning outcomes within the Executive MBA that are targeted towards somebody looking into those high levels of leadership within their organization. And we’re going to pair that with some really stand-out teachers who have some real-world knowledge, as well as some insight into the academic side of business.

Jake M.: Alongside quality, we also try to keep those small class sizes. This gives you more opportunity to be connecting with your professors, and really also connecting in depth with your classmates because we bring in some exceptional classmates. It’s not necessarily easy to get into the Executive MBA. There are a variety of requirements that I’ll be talking about down the line. But from an academic standpoint, we have some very strong students. And from a work experience standpoint, we have some excellent experience that’s being brought in. Tons of different management from a lot of different careers and industries represented. So, you guys get to learn just as much from the faculty that we have as you do from the classmates that you have. So, really good pool to be jumping into.

Jake M.: And one way we help you leverage that high tier of networks is going to be through different group projects. We have you guys connecting on a lot of different small groups, often times four people to a group, where you guys will tackle a business problem and use each other’s expertise to knock that out. We do a lot of current event discussions. So, when we see business changes in the world, especially on the global scale, that happens quite often, we’re going to bring that into the classroom. Another way that our faculty is able to add a lot of value is by doing that.

Jake M.: So, yeah. Definitely a high quality program. But we also need convenience. You guys are probably working 40 or more hours. A lot of the times, the students I talk to are working 50 to 60 hours, and they’re looking to get this EMBA to make another push towards maybe an executive or a c-suite role. So, you guys need flexibility. You need convenience. And we have designed this Executive MBA around that student.

Jake M.: So, it is 100% online. We don’t require any travel, there’s no mandatory travel. Often times different online graduate programs will have you come down to campus a few times. But we are going to make those types of things optional for you. Aside from being 100% online, it is 100% asynchronous. So, you could be doing this on your own time, really whenever you see best fit. You don’t need to be sure to log into a session at 6:00 p.m. We have students across all different time zones, so we want to be able to fit into your schedule rather than have you fit into ours. And asynchronous content’s one way that we can do that.

Jake M.: But now, that being said, we do offer live sessions. Really cool time to be touching base with your classmates, and with your professors. So, each week, you get a couple of times that you can join into these live sessions. And they’re all recorded, where you can watch them on your own time. So, whether you watched it live and you want to re-watch it, reinforce some of those learning topics that you went over, you can do that. Or if you didn’t get a chance to join live, you’ll have a copy for yourself, as well. And then we have easy access to assignments. We use a system called Blackboard, it’s a very popular learning management system. And it’s really your portal to the university. So, in there, you’ll see your assignments, you’ll see your test scores, various online resources that your professors have provided to you. And also, we have an online library that you can leverage, as well as a lot of reference materials as you’re knocking out case studies, as you’re doing group projects, you’re going to have the material at your hands.

Jake M.: Now, dropping down to the bottom left of the screen, you’ll see relevance. That’s another huge thing that we try to focus on with the Executive MBA. And what that really means is we want this program to be tailored towards where you’re at in your career. So, the Executive MBA, we’re looking for students who have five or more years of management or leadership experience, and we’re going to tailor the curriculum with that student in mind. So, we’re going to help you formulate actual business strategies. These are all going to be grounded in theory and practice, covering multiple disciplines from marketing, to accounting, to finance. We’re going to be diving into data-driven analysis, where we really give you those practical methods, those quantitative methods, and then give you the skills to make decisions from that.

Jake M.: Again, we know where you guys are at. You’re in those leadership roles. We want to give you sort of that CEO perspective, that top-down view, when we’re looking at all these different topics. We also have a big global perspective in this program. So, you’ll see that we identify and evaluate global, ethical, and societal implications. So, what we want to do is give you the big picture. We want you to have the tools, and the skills in your portfolio to be able to take on these large projects, take on these high responsibility roles. And finally, we want to help you analyze business situations and really be able to apply the appropriate theory, and appropriate methodology given those circumstances.

Jake M.: And then the last really big pillar of our program’s going to be support. The quality, the convenience, the relevance would all be pointless if we didn’t have a team here that can help you through the program. So, starting off day one when you’re researching our Executive MBA, you have an enrollment advisor. So, that’s what myself does, that’s what all the members on my team do. We’re here to help you talk about the program, help you learn about it, help talk about learning outcomes, see how it is paired towards your career, see if it aligns with that. And if it does, we guide you through that admissions process. We help you gather all the documents, and really try to streamline that for you, offload some of the work onto our end. And then as soon as my job is done, now you’re going to be working with a student support advisor. So, this is going to be really your go-to throughout the program. They help with everything from registering you for classes, work with you on scheduling your different classes. So, if you need maybe a customized schedule, they’ll be your go-to there. And they’ve also seen just about every scenario that can pop up. So, when you’re navigating an issue, they’re going to be the first person who’s going to give you some insight, give you some feedback, and help you navigate appropriately.

Jake M.: Then from there, we have faculty. Top tier faculty, you’ll have your elite instructor for your course. So, really the person that is creating the curriculum of that class, laying out the learning objectives, and also the subject matter expert. But from there, we divvy it up into sections. So, you’ll have section instructors. This is where we can keep our classes really small, around that 20 student mark. And they’re going to be able to help you out with all things content related.

Jake M.: So, we got two lines of communication there, two different people to be going to for questions, for support. Aside from that, 24/7 technical support. We want to make sure to not have any technical issues, given that it’s an online program. But when those do arise, we have 24/7 access to Blackboard technical support, and then we also have our own Crimson Help Desk here in Pullman, and they’re fantastic at helping out. I call them quite often, both with my own computer issues alongside other students’ computer issues. And we’re able to address those very quickly, we efficiently here.

Jake M.: But now I want to talk a little bit about two things to you. We’re going to talk about program structure, and then we’re also going to talk about the admissions process. So, starting off with the program structure, you’ll see this is a fairly quick program. Length of it is going to be right around 18 months, and that’s going to be divvied up into 11 core classes, so 33 credits, one elective course, three credits, your Capstone Project, which is eight credits. And so, a total of 15 courses there. And then the format that we’ve chosen is pretty unique. This is a way that we really capitalize on that convenience pillar. And that’s going to be that we offer five-week courses for most of the program, you take one at a time. So, huge value for you is it simplifies things. You’re in one class, you know which professor to be communicating with, you’re not having to now juggle multiple topics, multiple assignments within your week. You’re just going to be knocking out that primary focus.

Jake M.: We also have that international field study, as well. That is optional to you, but it is a fantastic experience. That’s something I’m going to let Mitch and Amy really dive into in a little bit. I’m excited for them to share some more info there. But then you’ll see number of courses toward the bottom of the screen. Number of courses taken per term. So, terms one through six, roughly the first nine months, you’re doing one course at a time. So, within a semester, you’re going to be taking three five-week classes. One for the first five weeks of that semester, one for the middle five weeks, and one for the final five weeks. It keeps a nice cadence throughout the program, let’s you, again, really focus on that topic at hand. And then towards the back half of the program, once you’ve really solidified a lot of your routine, you’ve gotten pretty proficient, that’s when we’re going to add not only your one core class, but we’re also going to be adding the Capstone Project. So, this is what we end the program with, is the Capstone. It is an alternative towards a standard end of a program for a graduate degree.

Jake M.: Often times, graduate degrees will have a thesis, where you have to write this large paper, this large research topic. Or maybe they’ll have a large comprehensive exam, where you’re being tested on all the different classes that you’ve learned. But we just didn’t really find that to be super relevant to our Executive MBA students. What we wanted to do is compile all these skills that you’ve learned into one project, on final deliverable. So, you’re developing a business plan from start to finish. So, from identifying a new opportunity, to conducting different feasibility studies, to looking at how you’re marketing, how you’re operations and finance, and your sales team’s going to work. And then ultimately, you present that to our faculty members here, who basically act as investors. So, I think it’s a huge takeaway. We’ve had students actually take these Capstone Projects and now start this actual business. But then we’ve also had students who just used this as a way to really encapsulate all the skills that they’ve learned throughout the program into one cohesive sample, essentially.

Jake M.: And then, again, class size, we keep it small. 20 students per section. And then that Capstone Project. Now, on the right of the screen, you’re going to see that admissions requirements. So, this is not a hard requirement at the top, the work experience ten plus years, that’s not a mandatory. That’s what we typically see. Usually students are coming in right around 18 years of work experience. Most, a majority of them, will have ten or more years of work experience. And then in particular, we’re really looking for management experience, or leadership experience. We want to see that you’ve had a lot of responsibility, and that this Executive MBA aligns with your next step in your career. So, we’re looking for right around five to seven years of management experience as a requirement to apply. We also have GMAT waivers available to our students. A vast majority of Executive MBA students are being granted GMAT waivers. We have one of our GMAT waivers is for a student who has a 3.0 GPA alongside five or more years of work experience.  So, given that we’re requiring five years of leadership experience, most of you, of our Executive MBA students, have been securing that for the admissions. Now, if you didn’t, the times that I often see students needing the GMAT exam, is if maybe they had a lower GPA. We do have a 3.0 requirement. However, we have made exceptions to that rule for students who maybe had a 2-point-something, and are using the GMAT to really strengthen their profile, to come into the Executive MBA.

Jake M.: Also, letters of recommendation is a requirement for our application. We’re looking for three of them. At least one of them, we want to be coming from an immediate manager or supervisor. And then we’ll be writing a quick statement of purpose, really just detailing what your background is, what your goals are, and what you’re looking to do in your career. We’ll get a resume, important documents, highlight your leadership experience. Then we’ll get what’s called the organizational support form. Again, it’s similar to a letter of recommendation, coming from your leadership team. And granted, that we’re looking for students of high leadership capacity, we want to see an org chart, just to see where you fit in right now. And then we also want to see an organizational summary to understand what industry you represent, and what your role is within that company.

Jake M.: And then, finally, we’ll need official transcripts. But we do have three different start dates each year available to you. The next one is going to be coming up here, January. That’ll be January 13th. But we also have a May start date, as well as an August start date. We want to provide as many opportunities for our students to jump in when they feel is the best time.

Jake M.: Moving forward here, though, you can see the tuition for the program. We got 44 credits in our Executive MBA. That’s going to be at 1,264 dollars per credit hour. So, total tuition comes out to be 55,616 dollars. We also want to factor in books. Books and fees, and any other expenses. We approximate that to be roughly 3,000 dollars. And then you have the optional field study. So, this will usually be somewhere between 5,000 and 7,000 dollars, depending on the rate of exchange. Typically we’re going to China, so that’s the reason for that variance there. So, all in all, we’re seeing the program range somewhere between 63,616 dollars to 65,616 dollars. I do highly encourage any student to be looking into scholarships. We have our own scholarships here at WSU that I can share with you, or any advisor can share with you. There’s also this third party website that you can see below, They have a lot of opportunity there.

Jake M.: And then also, look into applying for financial aid. That would be in the form of student loans. But we do see a lot of our students doing that to sort of offset the initial hit out of their pocket, and be able to really capitalize on the return on investment from the EMBA. And then, of course, for our military students, we can use the GI Bill, or the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

Jake M.: And now I want to hop into a day in the life. I think this is going to be a good opportunity for Amy to hop on. Amy, want to tell us a little bit about your experience sort of week in, week out?

Amy Keene: Yeah, I’d be glad to. Thanks for having me join. I have to tell you that when I chose to join the EMBA program, I had decided that I needed something that was really flexible for my life. My work at Boeing is pretty dynamic, and has a lot of requirements. So, I needed something that didn’t require me to be in a certain place at a certain time. I did like calling into the live classes, I found those mostly to be pretty beneficial when you had other people on the call with you to hear their questions. And so, that was always nice. But being able to have the flexibility to call in if, and just re-watch the video, if you weren’t available for the live session, was a nice alternative because sometimes your life schedule just doesn’t align with the class schedule. And so, really, that flexibility is what drew me to the program to begin with.

Amy Keene: Considering the 15 to 20 hours a week of homework and class time, I would say that’s pretty accurate. Although depending on how you work with your classmates and the people that you meet in the program, you can make that more or less, depending on how you’re working on things. I found some people got really into certain assignments and went way more than what they had to do just because they were really intrigued by an assignment. And others just leveraging the different capabilities of some of your teammates, you could make the assignment shorter and get through it more quickly.

Amy Keene: Some of the things that I enjoyed the most about the program, which surprised me, were the discussion posts that we did. Working at Boeing, I find that all I ever get to talk about are airplanes and suppliers, and engineering. And the variety of different people in the program, and the different industries, made it really refreshing to get different outside perspective when I was in class. And seeing how we all analyze similar information, or the same information, very differently was also a great learning experience, something that I wouldn’t have expected to have enjoyed, actually. So, that’s something that you may find you like. There are lots of articles that you’re asked to analyze, case studies, some of the team projects, they require a lot of flexibility and adaptability. And if you can connect with some people in your classes just by watching how they interact, or seeing the kinds of assignments they produce, you can quickly kind of create your own cohort that helps you get through the program. And the colleagues that I’ve met, my Capstone teammates, they are lifelong friends now. I would work with them in a heartbeat because we were able to adapt and work together so long, and so well.

Amy Keene: So, those are some of the experiences that were really valuable to me coming out of the program. Not to mention a number of the different classes that, at first, seemed daunting or overwhelming. They turned out to be really thought-provoking, experience-based. For example, there’s one in particular that comes to mind on the data analytics, and key performance indicators. And we were asked to go in and do an assignment assessing our internal organization scorecard. And this proved to be a lot of work for me. I actually had my chief engineer reading my homework and approving it each week, which was a little bit comical. But I was able to take our internal scorecard, analyze it, and provide a really thorough analysis of what metrics we had that we working and weren’t working, and provide feedback on how we could change them, or things that we should do internally in our organization.

Amy Keene: I took that, I interviewed my team, I interviewed colleagues. And I was able to pull a lot of really good information together doing that. That’s not something that I might’ve, on my own, thought to go do without having had this experience from the program.

Jake M.: That’s awesome, Amy. Thank you for sharing that. I really appreciate that. And when we were speaking sort of before this webinar started, you had mentioned that you felt that the degree really helped you be able to secure the position you’re currently in, in the supply chain procurement side of things. Is that right?

Amy Keene: Excuse me. I was just coughing.

Jake M.: Sorry about that.

Amy Keene: Yeah I do think that it was a … Yeah. I just inhaled on the wrong motion there. I do think it was a key contributor to my leadership team recognizing that I needed a new opportunity. It was time for me to go do something different. And this gave me a lot of real world experience to go apply to it. Certainly, I still have a lot to learn in my new role. You always start feeling kind of dumb the first six months in any new job. However, all my prior experience certainly has led up to being able to take what I’ve learned and apply it in my new position.

Jake M.: That’s fantastic. We really appreciate you hopping on the line and sharing about that. And I’m sure you’re going to be looped in on this next slide. But Mitch, you want to start off by just introducing the international field study? Talking a little bit about that?

Mitch Swanger: Yes, absolutely. Thanks, Jake. So, as Jake previously mentioned, the international field study trip is offered every year. I believe it’s typically offered in April, although I think there is some flexibility around that. It is optional for students that want to go. The trip, at least for the last few years, has been in China. And will be in China again coming up this next year. And it’s typically ten or 11 days, depending on your travel. The trip is nice because it’s a mix of company visits, as well as leisure activities. So, some of the multinational companies in China that we visited have included businesses like John Deere, or Boeing. But there’s also Chinese companies that are a possibility to visit, like Alibaba. And then China was chosen because of it’s large-scale economy being one of the largest in the world.

Mitch Swanger: So, from the company visit standpoint, the goal is to explore what the business environment is actually like, what the business climate is like, and what … For doing business in China, or doing business with Chinese partners. And then what it’s like to sell into the Chinese markets. And just a note that the trip can be somewhat tailored based on the interests of the students. We can’t make promises, but we do have a lot of connections in China. And if you let Professor [Vel Cold 00:36:39] know, he’s the one who leads that trip, with enough time, he can try and work on some of those accommodations.

Mitch Swanger: I know that for last year’s trip, there were a few students from Boeing and the aerospace field. And so, one of the company visits was Boeing R&D Center in Beijing. And then some of the tourist and culture activities have included things like the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, and The Great Wall. If you go to Shanghai, you’ll visit the Yu Gardens. So, you’ll get a great appreciation for the history and culture of China. You’ll have a guide with you the whole time, you’ll stay in some fairly nice hotels. I’d actually like to defer, at this point, to Amy again. Amy has gone on the international field study trip before. So, Amy, if you wouldn’t mind sharing your experience.

Amy Keene: Thank you. I’ve been dying to jump in, actually. So, we had, again, as I mentioned, we had a broad variety of people that were in our program. So, we had a lot from the medical industry, actually. And when we went, we were able to … We all provided our thoughts in advance. And Vel did his best to accommodate. So, we went to Hyundai and saw their manufacturing line, which was incredibly fascinating. We had a meeting with a China aviation company, AVIC. We didn’t get to go to their site, but we did get to meet with them and learn about their black boxes. And we met with a PR company, and they talked to us about public relations and disaster management for public relations. That was a fascinating experience. If you can imagine the Chinese equivalent of, let’s say, the Tiger Woods affair fiasco. They talked to us about how they manage that sort of thing, and showed us what things they go through.

Amy Keene: We also had a company that we visited that made drugs, and they did the drug trials for taking a drug to a generic formula. And then we did a hospital tour that was sort of on the fly, just because we had so many people in the medical industry with us that were really interested in that. And then we went to lighting company that was predominantly women. So, it was 100 people, and 70 of them were women. Which is quite the opportunity of what’s typical. And we learned some fascinating things about how they employ their sales culture, and utilize women rather than the men for that. Because the women are less competitive, and they can hold out for that sale longer because they don’t have a family, usually, that they’re supporting. Whereas the men are really driving for, “I have to feed my family.” And so, they’re driving very quickly for a sale that they don’t have the patience to run the long game on. So, it was really fascinating to learn some of the cultural differences, and how they run their business. And this was run by an international couple. They had quite a bit of international experience. Versus Hyundai, who we were led around by a female quality manager or employee, and they had very few women on staff, comparatively speaking.

Amy Keene: We did lots of cultural activities, business activities, combined the networking. This and then the leadership conference are really the only two opportunities you have to meet your classmates. And I just can’t even tell you how much it lends itself to you working better through the program. One of my compadres on the trip was one of my Capstone teammates. It just helps you learn to work together better. Plus, you go through all these awkward experiences together as you’re navigating a country and a culture that you’re not familiar with.

Amy Keene: I can’t say enough about taking the opportunity. If you can do it, it’s well worth the visit.

Jake M.: That’s awesome. Thank you. Thank you for sharing that, Amy. And also, for anybody that is interested in doing the program, as well as going on this trip, that’s going to be going from April 12th to April 22nd of 2020. So, feel free to slot that off in your calendars. And then also, the application deadline for applying to the trip will be January 17th. But obviously you would be getting more information as you looked to start the program.

Jake M.: But now, and Amy had actually alluded to this, is the Executive MBA Leadership Conference, another good networking one. I’m going to do a similar thing. Mitch, want to give a nice overview as you’ve been on a few of these? And then pass it off to Amy.

Mitch Swanger: Yes, absolutely. Yeah. Thanks, Amy, for segue way-ing into this. So, as Amy mentioned, this is another opportunity for you to meet face to face with not only your peers and your classmates, but also faculty, staff, alumni, leaders in the industry. So, every year, and we do it every September, we hold the Executive MBA Leadership Conference in Seattle. Typically housed at a boutique hotel. So, we just had this year’s a few weeks ago. And I was fortunate enough to attend.

Mitch Swanger: The event itself is exclusive for current EMBA students and alumni. And it’s two full days of sessions. And it is jam packed, where we bring in executive coaches and leaders to talk about their work and conduct workshops. But we’ve also included, over the years, authors, researchers. I believe last year … I was not able to attend last year. But I believe last year, for any football fans out there, we had Drew Bledsoe as one of our speakers because he owns wineries in the state of Washington. And that’s his passion now. So, this year’s topics included group stereotypes and biases in the workplace, and how to identify them. And we had one of our faculty members, Dr. Leah [Shepherd 00:42:43], lead that. We had emotional intelligence, and how it’s a differentiator by [inaudible 00:42:49] [Aurora 00:42:50]. And then, on our second day, we had skills and techniques to stand out as a global executive by Stephen Krempl. And he’s actually been at a few of the events. He seems to be a fan favorite.

Mitch Swanger: So, the goal of it is to take even what you learn in this jam packed two days, and be able to apply it in your workplace immediately. But to go back to what Amy said, I think another huge piece of this conference is the networking opportunity. Because we are fully online, and of course, you’re always welcome to come to campus if you’d like, but it’s never required, this really is one of two options for the opportunity to meet with your current fellow students, alumni, faculty, staff, and so on.

Mitch Swanger: We actually, on the second night, we had a networking reception after day one. And our Dean, Dean Hunter, actually came and spoke to the group, and then mingled for a while. So, if nothing else, I think the networking opportunity is really important. And again, I’m going to segue way to Amy. I know you’d already alluded to some of this. But if you want to add anything else to it, since you’ve attended previously.

Amy Keene: Yeah. So, I’ve signed up for all of the last three, and I only attended two of the last three. I made it to the reception this round, some events at work kind of overtook the opportunity to show up in person for the sessions. But I’ll say that I had signed up for it, even though Stephen Krempl, it’s not the first time he’s come, he has been before, but I got so much out of the first visit, and took so much back to work, to my own team and to others, that I was really excited to hear him speak again, and see what else I could learn from him in his leadership coaching experience.

Amy Keene: If you’re interested, he’s got a book called The 5% Rule, or 5% Zone, that’s fantastic. And it’s got some great tips you can use. Last year, they had a negotiation exercise, which was probably one of the best experiences I’ve ever had in a conference. One of the professors from WSU put us through an individual negotiation exercise, and then a multiparty group negotiation. And taught us how to come out with your best and final offer, and kind of create your own tables for what does a negotiation formula look like so that you’re not negotiating off of emotion? Something I’d never considered not having that in my daily experiences before. So, that was really fascinating. Jenny [Flinder 00:45:29] had come a prior year, as well, and taught us about how to show up and represent yourself, do your elevator speech. Just really great speakers, leaders coming in. There was another woman the year before that also walked us through how do you show up on LinkedIn, how do you show up on your resume, what are the things that you’re doing to promote yourself in the right ways?

Amy Keene: So, there’s some really great opportunities not only to connect with the speakers, but also to meet those people that you’re in class with every day, have that face to face, or meet some of the alumni and get their feedback on where they’ve gone and what they took out of the program. Because on the second night … The first reception night typically is a lot of the staff and people that are in the program that are there. But on the second night, a lot of alumni tend to come that have been from the program and maybe just aren’t able to stay for the whole conference.

Amy Keene: It’s a great networking opportunity. And I’ve made some really great connections both from being in the classes during the conference dates, and then also in the reception afterwards.

Jake M.: Awesome. Thank you very much, Amy. And I think one thing that you see as a theme throughout all these different workshops, all these different focus items for the events, other than networking, is how to differentiate yourself at these high levels of leadership. I was talking with Vel Cold, he’s a faculty member in the Executive MBA. And he had mentioned to become an executive, you’re a top performer. So, your performance has been able to distinguish yourself all the way up. And so, now you’re at the executive levels of role, where all of your teammates, all of your competitors are going to be also top performers. So, this gives you a lot of those tools to stand out and continue that climb among other top performers. But no, we really appreciate that, Mitch. Appreciate that, Amy, your insight into the EMBA Leadership Conference.

Jake M.: We’re coming up close to the Q&A section. Before that, I’m just going to answer a few of the frequently asked questions. Then we’ll dive into some of your guys’ questions. But yeah, we do have those interactive live sessions with faculty. You’re going to be two per week. Usually you’ll have one on Monday with your lead instructor, and then one later in the week sometime Thursday and Friday with your section instructor. And these are always 6:00 p.m. Pacific Time, or later. We want to give you some time to get home, be able to sit down and hop onto these sessions. And again, if you can’t make them, they’re recorded. You can watch them whenever you would like.

Jake M.: Usually we see that 15 to 20 hours per week. It does vary like Amy had said. There’s some ebb and flow to the workload. Sometimes you might have a little bit more when you’re working on some of those group projects. We delved pretty deep into the international field study. If there are any additional questions, reach out to an advisor and we can help you out there. And then that Capstone Project and final examination process. Just developing that business plan.

Jake M.: Amy, can you tell us a little bit about what you guys did? You mentioned it was some sort of Uber tied to food. Tell me a little bit about that.

Amy Keene: Yeah. So, we had to pool our ideas and then we picked the one that we felt was the best or more likely to have enough material, I’ll say, to work with. And so, we ended up saying, “Gosh, we’re all full-time students. We have families. We work full-time. We don’t have time to cook.” And this is a true reality in our situation. So, we came up with the idea of having a personal Uber chef. So, someone that could either make the food and you could order it and it would be delivered to you, or you could have them come and cook in your kitchen for you. And so, we went through some various themes on how that would work, and what kinds of packages that we would put together, and did a lot of networking with people in the industry, and certainly getting customer feedback on how to make that work.

Jake M.: Perfect. Thank you very much for that, Amy. No, I think that Capstone is a huge takeaway, and we appreciate you sharing that. We’ve also seen students actually take these Capstone Projects and launch them into full businesses. We’ve had people go on Shark Tank and actually get funded. They came out of the Executive MBA program. I believe it was Mark Cuban who had ended up funding their project. And ultimately, they launched that plan. So, it is a hefty project, but a really cool takeaway. But yeah, now I want to move on to some of the Q&A questions. We’ve had some great ones coming in here. We appreciate you guys asking these questions. One of them we had a potential student ask that they had heard you could take up to five years to complete the degree. Can you explain how that works, and if it was correct? And yes, that is correct. So, if you ran through it from start to finish, it is 18 months, it’s quick, a year and a half. But we also are really trying to cater towards flexibility, so we give you the option to extend this out over five years. And the way that really works, within each semester, you have three classes. So, one’s the first five, one’s the second five, one for the third five weeks.

Jake M.: If you needed a break, maybe you wanted to take a whole semester off, you can take those three classes off. And now, you’ll just rebuild out your schedule with your student support advisor, and figure out how to fit those in, what your timeframe looks like, and what factors are present. So, it is absolutely an option for our students. We’ve seen people use it. Maybe they have a busy time of year that they need a break. We’ve seen students use it then. We’ve seen students get promoted be able to get comfortable with their new job as they’re maybe taking on a higher workload, and then jump back into the program. So, maybe in that case, you just want to take one five-week class off, rather than a whole semester.

Jake M.: So, a lot of different reasons you can do it. But yes. Tons of students do it, and we are welcome to work with you guys through that. Now, another really good one that came up, is payment required up front for the program? Do I pay per class, or is there some other schedule? Very good question. The way we’ve structured payments is that you only pay for the class you’re enrolled in. So, every five weeks, you would make a course payment. And that’s that 1,264 per credit hour. Most of your classes will be three credits. So, I just need to do some quick multiplication. You’re looking at right around just under 3,800 dollars for most of your courses. But yeah, that. So, essentially, every five weeks, you would be making a course payment. And that’s usually pretty handy with tuition reimbursements. If you’re looking to use that through your employer, that way you’re not having to front a lot of cash at the beginning, and being able to chop it up between your 18 months, and all the way up to five years.

Jake M.: And then another good one that came in, are you in a cohort for the whole program, or is there a cohort per class? Amy, can you chime in a little bit on this one? I’m going to answer it generally at first, but also I want to hear your experience in just a second.

Amy Keene: Absolutely.

Jake M.: So, yeah, appreciate that. The cohort system. We aren’t a traditional cohort. So, that’s not like you join the program with the 20 or so students, and you go through the entire program with them. We do like to mix it up, as well as cater more towards flexibility, and the cohort can sometimes limit that model. So, you do, often times, see students throughout the program. Amy, is that correct? You’ve been going through that 18 months and seeing a lot of familiar faces, right?

Amy Keene: Well, two of the people you have on the screen, I actually know. Jennifer on the left, and Wendy on the right. Jennifer went to China with me. Wendy is one of the people I continue to keep in touch with. You’ll see that you get some of the same people in the same classes. So, maybe there’s, let’s say, 100 people and you’re split into four sections. You’re going to see some of the same people regularly. And then you’re going to get some new faces, or names mixed in there. But once you know people, you can continue because you’re all working on the same homework. So, if you’ve kind of created your own cohort within that whole class grouping, it really makes a nice opportunity for getting work done, and not always having to bug your professors when you have questions.

Jake M.: Fantastic. I appreciate that. We do see students making a lot of lifelong connections. People who are getting very close, even though we’re not on a traditional cohort model. Awesome. And then another good question that rolled in, what’s the main difference between an MBA and an Executive MBA? And the way I would summarize that is sort of the type of student that comes into each program. The Executive MBA’s going to have a much more senior student, somebody who has a lot of leadership under their belt, like Amy had going into the program. And they’re looking to continue their career progression. So, given that population, now we target the curriculum around that population. People who have seen leadership. So, now, our curriculum is going to be much more big picture, much more strategic. And we’re trying to really gear you up for high levels of management, leading departments, leading organizations. So, that’s where you see a lot of the difference there. And MBA’s usually going to be a little bit more tactical. Usually a bit younger of an audience, right around five to ten years of work experience, as opposed to the 18 or so years of work experience out of our EMBA students. Now, Mitch, I got a good one for you. The MBA degree, the Executive MBA degree that you received, does it note online anywhere on that?

Mitch Swanger: Thanks, Jake. It does not. So, when you graduate, your diploma, your transcript and everything, will just say a Master of Business Administrations from Washington State University. And that’s all it says. So, there is nothing that indicates that you did this online.

Jake M.: Awesome. Appreciate that, Mitch. Another good one, and I think another really good one for Amy, what, according to you, is the best thing about the program, if you were to pick one? Is there anything that jumps out to you when you’re thinking about the Executive MBA?

Amy Keene: That’s a challenging one. I would tie it back, again, to the combined experience of working with other people to see how to analyze information differently and make decisions based on that information. Because that, combined with those longer-term relationships, really provides you the opportunity, then, in the future to get help when you’re in challenging situations, and you need a mentor, a peer, or a sponsor. Someone who maybe has experience in an area that you don’t. You’ve now been exposed to 100 plus people that you have that you can go to for help. It’s a pretty quick way to get support in situations that you would not have ever had because of the wealth of experience and leadership. I might’ve been the lowest titled person, I think, in my group of classmates. Just so many different people at different levels with lots of experience managing businesses at all levels.

Jake M.: That’s perfect. And I think that’s often times an unseen value when students are picking out a program. It can be something you don’t always think of, is who else is going to be in the program? And that’s something the Executive MBA does very well.

Jake M.: But we are approaching the end of this session. So, I want to wrap it up. I do want to thank all of you for joining this program. Again, you’ll get a recorded copy if you want to share it with any of your colleagues or friends. We do have an upcoming January start date, so that’ll be January 13th. If you’re interested, we’d love to talk to you, see if this is something you want to move forward with. Still plenty of time to apply with an application deadline of December 9th.

Jake M.: So, please feel free to reach out. We’d love to chat with you. Mitch, thank you for joining us. Matt, thank you for joining us and talking about military benefits. Amy, huge thanks to you. You provided a lot of cool insight. And yeah, appreciate everybody for having us on the line.